The violinist who can!
We have a saying in Poland: Poles can do it!
Patrycja Piekutowska is a good example. Not only is she great at playing the violin but she can also make a big event for the largest children's hospital and change the fortunes of thousands of children and their families.
Have you ever woken up and realised that you are late? You should be at the airport now. Check the time again and it's only half an hour before the gate closes. You pack in five minutes, get off to a taxi and... make it!
Sounds like a nightmare, but violinist Patrycja Piekutowska, one composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s favourites, has such situations several times a month and – to be honest – she does not even raise her pulse.
She is very straightforward and spontaneous both on stage and in private life. Ask her and she will flood you with funny stories about how she forgot her dress and even the partitions, which turned out a few minutes before the recital.
And always wonderful coincidences saved her from disaster. She is a natural-born optimist and doesn’t know the word 'impossible'. A huge load of enthusiasm saved her when her son Tony was born with a heart defect. Her other son – Adam also had health problems and spent some time in hospital. That's why when I saw her agitated and furious, I knew that the situation was extremely serious.
'Have you seen how The Children's Memorial Health Institute looks?', she asked with a raised voice.
I nodded. The largest children's hospital in Poland was built from public contributions over 40 years ago. I have recently run literary workshops for children at the oncology department and remember a long queue to the elevators.
'The building is being renovated. Now it may not look good, but it will be better... someday.' I tried to calm her down.
'We don't have time!', said Patrycja, 'I must do something!’
I looked at her closely. Financing healthcare is a huge problem worldwide. We live longer and we want to be treated in friendly, well-equipped places. At the hospitals, foundations raise money from the richest donors. In Liverpool, where I live, the children's hospital Alder Hey has Liverpool FC Steven Gerard's support. Patrycja was extremely talented, but she was a classical musician, not a sports star.
'I've already talked to hospital management', she informed me as if it was something obvious. 'I know how much money is needed to complete the renovation of the hall. I will organize a big show. We will collect money. And then I'll think what's next. Stay tuned.’
Three months later, in one of the most beautiful and prestigious halls of Warsaw – the assembly hall of the Polytechnic, a concert took place. The Sinfonia Juventus Orchestra accompanied two internationally renowned singers - Artur Ruciński and Rafał Siwek. Patrycja coordinated everything, got sponsors, circulated between television and radio studios. All tickets for the Great Artists To Little Patients Music Show, gone in a few days. Money for the renovation of the Children's Memorial Health Institute hall was collected.
And that was just the beginning. Patrycja was awarded the honorary title of the Ambassador of the Children's Memorial Health Institute and was appointed the President of the KIDS Foundation (Children's Hospital Innovators' Club), gathering businessmen from the growing start-up sector. They will introduce the most modern solutions and medical procedures – first in Warsaw, and then in children's hospitals across Poland. The task is very ambitious, but a Polish woman can do it!